Once thought of as the boy wonder that would effortlessly bring Wisconsin to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's column, Congressman Paul Ryan seems as lost these days as the rest of Romney's erratic campaign. And it's showing in the polls.
A new CBS/Times/Quinnipiac poll shows President Barack Obama in the lead in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin by six percentage points, 51% to 45%. The survey was taken after an unauthorized tape of Romney addressing a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, surfaced on the internet, thanks to liberal blog Mother Jones. In the video, the Republican candidate was recorded as saying that 47% of Americans depend on the government and are going to vote for the president "no matter what."
The gaffe crowned a disastrous week for the Romney camp, during which he was also heard saying that if he were Mexican (alluding to his father's place of birth) it would be easier for him to win the election. Romney's response to the earlier crisis in Libya, where American ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered following angry protests caused by the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, was also deemed and criticized by the national media as erratic.
Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 percentage points in 2008; and, though the selection of Ryan as Romney's VP was expected to keep a close race in WI this year, surveys conducted in August, just before the Republican convention and after Ryan's selection, didn't show a "Ryan bump."
Though the national tracking polls still show Romney and Obama on a statistical dead heat, it's on the battleground states where the election will be decided. And with about 50 days to Election Day, the hill is looking steeper and steeper for Romney.